Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Will Allowing Same-Sex Marriages Boost a State's Economy?

Tiffany Hung from the Daily Iowan asked me to comment on an article from CNN addressing whether there will be an economic boost for state's allowing same-sex marriages. Here are my thoughts on whether there will be an economic impact.

The article basically asserts that states allowing same sex marriages will have an uptick in tourism, as same-sex couples travel to other states to marry. While this is true, will we see a discernible (or significant) difference in state taxable sales revenue or unemployment? I am rather confident that we will not. To see why, let's look at the Super Bowl.

Sports economists have been looking at how the Super Bowl impacts the local economy for years, and find that there is very little discernible evidence that tourism from the Super Bowl has any local economic impact. Now remember, the Super Bowl has 70,000 people attending during a specific point in time, not spread out over an entire year. So if there is no discernible economic impact from an event over say one week, how much less will an impact of 10,000 (number quoted from the CNN article) people have on the local economy over an entire year?

Hence from an economic perspective, state's allowing same-sex marriages will find little local or state wide economic impact from this change in government policy.

In the end I feel that this issue really revolves around two areas: morality and politics, and the trade-off that exists. The moral point of view argues that marriage is between a man and a woman while the political concern that not allowing same-sex marriages is discriminatory.

What do you think?

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